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Interactive Whiteboards Create Collaborative Classrooms
Heather Fudger /

Interactive Whiteboards Create Collaborative Classrooms

Classrooms have completely evolved over the past 20 years.  Remember chalkboards, or blackboards?  Classrooms were filled with them.  Not only in the front of the classroom, but some classrooms had them on two or even three walls.  I don’t know about you, but that memory brings back the “nails on a chalkboard” sound when a piece of chalk inadvertently hits the blackboard the wrong way.  That screeching sound still makes the hair stand up on my arms just thinking about it.  Then there were the overhead projectors.   Those big, bulky pieces of machinery wheeled in on a cart in the middle of the classroom.  Who doesn’t remember the thrill of being allowed to write on the transparency with a dry-erase marker and seeing the results projected on the wall?

Fortunately, there has been an evolution in how educators can display their lessons.

A flipboard and whiteboard were usually used interchangeably.  A whiteboard was more environmentally friendly though because paper wasn’t being wasted.  But those markers were way better than the chalk and probably left less residue on hands and clothing.

When technology like interactive whiteboards were introduced into classrooms, it was a game changer.  Teachers dropped the chalk and the markers to teach with a mouse, stylus and a swipe of their index finger. Students born into the digital age could not resonate with anything static – they wanted interaction. Interactive whiteboards invited students to engage with the lessons and teachers aren’t limited in what they can present to students.

Learning is becoming more and more digitized, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Luckily, technology is also becoming more comfortable to use and takes less time to implement. With the ability to use the display as a touchscreen device, an interactive whiteboard allows teachers to accomplish a wide range of tasks, from presenting to collaboration. 

What are the benefits of an interactive whiteboard?

Collaboration: Interactive whiteboards are an excellent way for kids to interact with the material they are learning from.  Children thrive with hands-on learning, so their understanding of the material comes from touching, drawing or writing on the board.  Entire classrooms can join in on educational games, even when learning remotely.  Since interactive whiteboards offer immediate feedback, which allows students and teachers to easily assess student progress.

Enhanced lessons: Interactive whiteboards are a useful tool for integrating learning styles.  Students can experience a connection to their learning by hearing, seeing, and interacting with the board through touch.  Movies, PowerPoint presentations and graphics can be used in addition to standard text-based lessons. Because of this, students learn better and remember more.

Ease-of-use: One of the biggest perks of interactive whiteboards is that they don’t require a lot of maintenance.   Data is easily marked using a stylus or a finger for highlighting, drawing and writing.  There is no need for extra tools, which means no mess or cleanup!

Flexibility: An interactive whiteboard can host many different platforms.  Teachers have a wide array to choose from, whether it be photos, graphs, illustrations or videos. The Sharp 4T-B70CT1U AQUOS BOARD® interactive display offers plug-and-play compatibility for quick integration with various cloud-based platforms, including Google Classroom, allowing presentations on a large-format display inside the classroom. Additionally, precise 20-point multi-touch functionality allows multiple people to collaborate effectively and creatively to facilitate effective learning.

What about the cost?

Let’s face it.  Interactive whiteboards are not cheap. But you will save money on dry erase markers and chalk! Sure, you could hook up a TV to your computer, if you are just looking for a way to present to your classroom, but the biggest benefit of the interactive whiteboard is the way that it lets you interact with the lesson on the screen, which is no small concern for many teachers. The most important aspect to consider when choosing to add an interactive whiteboard to your classroom is usability.  There is no sense in having an expensive piece of technology in your classroom if you can’t even use it.  When researching manufacturers to purchase an interactive whiteboard, look for those that offer no-risk demos and no- or low-cost training included with the purchase. 

As classrooms continue to plan for a hybrid approach, educators need to plan for not only their current needs but also their future needs.  A smart classroom equipped with an interactive whiteboard and modern tools help with effective learning outcomes for all students.  They enable learners to absorb more.  Having the right technology in your classroom can make the biggest difference in both teachers and students lives. Here’s how this school district was able to use interactive whiteboards to maximize student interaction.

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